Monday's partner Art Matthies is distressed with me and I can't blame him. After Buffalo Garden Walk weekend, I'm in a fog. I don't have game. I go down on a 4 Spade contract everybody else makes because I fail to draw the last trump. I go down two, vulnerable, on a 3 Heart contract where I should have been down one.
One hand that Art is particularly distressed about is this one, the second hand of the day. Board 14. Nobody vulnerable. East is dealer.
East (Nancy Kessler)
Spades: J-5; Hearts: Q-8-6-2; Diamonds: A-8-6-4-3; Clubs: K-2.
Spades: A-10-7-4; Hearts: 7-3; Diamonds: 10-9; Clubs: A-Q-J-7-6.
West (John Kirsits)
Spades: Q-9-8-3; Hearts: A-J-9-4; Diamonds: 7-5-2; Clubs: 8-4.
Spades: K-6-2; Hearts: K-10-5; Diamonds: K-Q-J; Clubs: 10-9-5-3.
Amazingly, the bidding starts with three passes. I'm sitting with 12 high card points. We're not vulnerable. Maybe my partner has a long suit. I bid a Club. Nancy goes 1 Diamond. Art offers 1 Spade. I'm ready to do a 1 No Trump-new minor forcing bid, but John raises to 2 Diamonds.
So do I bid 2 NT, perhaps showing more strength than I've got? No, I support Art's bid by going 2 Spades, knowing full well that we may only have seven Spades between us. Art, revaluing his hand, jumps to 4 Spades. I smell disaster.
And it is. Though the hand record says North-South could make nine tricks in Spades, we make only eight. It's a bottom board. According to the hand record, we also can make 4 Clubs or 3 NT.
This hand haunts Art for several rounds. He concedes that he maybe should have opened. He contends that I never should have raised his Spades with only three of them in my hand. Given that a No Trump bid would have been more successful, he's got a point. Given that he passed, then bid a Spade, that made me think 2 Spades was a safe destination. And so it would have been.
Such are the perils of partnership. Fortunately, Art wasn't in a fog and plays pretty darn well as declarer when I don't screw him up. And we both have a knack for defense. Those three top boards of ours are all defensive. We manage a 51.53% game, fourth North-South, 0.93 of a master point. In this birthday month, that's icing on the cake.